Mattie Kenny may have missed out on the Galway job at the end of last year but the Cuala manager hasn’t been passing on any secrets to Cian O’Callaghan or any of the club’s other Dublin players.
Kenny was selector when Galway claimed a first Leinster title before pushing Kilkenny to an All-Ireland final replay in 2012. He stepped down after the 2013 season and unsuccessfully challenged his ex-colleague Anthony Cunningham for the top position last September.
Now in his second charge of south Dublin outfit Cuala, Kenny is highly-regarded by O’Callaghan and the panel but they’re looking for no favours from him.
“Even if I asked him, he wouldn’t give me anything!” smiled O’Callaghan. “He’s a great character. He’s just one of these men that absolutely loves hurling. Absolutely loves it.
“Ask him any question about hurling and he has an answer on the tip of his tongue. He just lives for it, plain and simple. He’s very tactically aware, very tactically astute.
“He’s a good man-manager as well. He’s always in touch with players, trying to get the best of them. A great man manager.”
Neither would O’Callaghan be expecting Kenny to give any lowdown on his Dublin players to Galway, as much as his ties are still strong with the panel. “He knows plenty about the Cuala lads and their style of play. I’m sure Mattie’s professional and he’s not divulging any secrets!”
Cunningham has spoken this week of his concern about the danger posed by Danny Schutte and O’Callaghan’s club-mate Mark Schutte who was one of the best forwards in this year’s league.
“He’s always been brilliant,” said O’Callaghan. “Anyone who saw him when he was younger… it was blatantly obvious that that potential was there. He’s really coming into his own now. He’s just a joy to watch.
“He’s a great addition to the forward line. He’s powerful, he’s pacy, he’s good in the air. He adds another dimension to the whole thing. Last year, he got injured in the first match (Leinster semi-final v Wexford) and that really put an end to his whole championship. So, I suppose he’s looking to make amends this year. But he’s really playing good hurling this year.”
Cork’s comeback Division 1 semi-final win over Dublin left a bad taste in the mouth of the players but O’Callaghan believes their league campaign has provided them with a platform for Sunday. “The whole time, we were probably aiming for consistency in our performances. I think, on the whole, we were relatively consistent. I mean, apart from the blip against Cork in Croke Park, we were actually always there or thereabouts in the last 10 minutes coming into matches.”
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